“Red code for humanity”

Climate Change was first addressed as an ‘international issue’ as early as 1988. In August 2021, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC released a report to which the UN referred to as the “red code for humanity”. This report elucidated and warned about the natural changes that have been onset by climate change. This blog talks about Climate Change and the causes of climate change.

Natural balance and climate change:

Climate change illustrations - forest fires

Climate change refers to the long-term change in the temperature and typical weather of a place. Climate change is the long term shift in the climate of Earth. It is identified by erratic and unprecedented changes in climate. It accounts for both changes in variability and average conditions. Long term effects may cause larger and unseen calamities.

Climate is naturally variable and works on a time scale. The incoming and outgoing energy keeps the natural balance. Climate change offsets this balance causing great stress on the planet

Causes of climate change :

The contemporary climate of our planet is affected by both natural and man made sources. The offset of the natural energy balance causes change in climate. This change is directly influenced by the time scale and grows more grave with time.

Natural Causes:

The Earth’s climate has a complex but sensitive eco-system. The climate can be affected by natural sources foreign to its climate system. These changes work on a large time scale to actually have observable effects. Two of the natural causes relevant to the natural timescale are ->

  • Large Volcanic eruptions
  • Changes in Solar activity

Volcanic Eruptions are rare but often quite powerful. The volcanic activity of a large scale can release a huge amount of energy and ash. This large change in energy input causes the climate to change episodically.

Changes in solar irradiance have contributed to causes climate change. Solar energy acts outside to the natural climate system and directly influences it. This input of energy causes the climate to change based on trends over years.

Volcanic Eruptions - causes of climate change

Man-Made Causes:

Deforestation - climate change causes

Human activities especially since the industrial revolution have caused major changes in climate. In comparison to the natural causes, human activity in only one century is fifty times the effect of natural causes since the birth of our planet.

Major causes of man made causes of climate change are:

  • Burning of fossil fuels
  • Deforestation to increase land for construction and agriculture

Human activity since the industrial revolution has added a lot of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These include but are not limited to the Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are major contributions to greenhouse effect.

Human influence on the climate has increased exponentially. In addition to degradation of environment these activities emit various agents into the atmosphere.

This slow but gradual build up of greenhouse gases from these sources have exponentially increased the greenhouse effect. The current trend of greenhouse effect has an immense potential to warm the planet. This level of increase has never been experienced in the history of our planet and has/will have far-reaching consequences.

Ponder over: Is climate change a consequence of human activities?

Consequences of these changes:

  1. The Polar region is one of the most affected by the climate change, the ice caps melting at a fast rate, many organisms which were frozen deep beneath the layers of ice caps are actually being discovered in recent times.
  2. Ocean levels are rising at an alarming rate.
  3. It has been predicted that by 2050 many Indian cities including Mumbai will be submerged in the ocean.
  4. Not just the Artic region that is affected, the whole world is facing the wrath of climate change.
  5. Small island nation like Kiribati can be completely wiped off the world map in the near future falling victim to climate change.
  6. Places like UAE is facing high temperature rises and fresh water shortages.
  7. The frequency of wild fire is on a rise in many places around the globe, many places are feeling the acute shortage of water and is going through draught phase.
  8. It is not only humans that are being affected by the climate change, it is also the marine life, land animals and flora-fauna.

Conclusion:

What climate change can mean for humans, environment and nature?

Humans

  • Harsh living conditions, temperature rise might make many regions not suitable for living.
  • Water shortage making day to day lives difficult and production of food even more difficult.
  • Heatwaves, erratic pattern of rainfall, draught, etc. more frequent.
  • Third world countries to suffer the impact the most.

Environment

  • Melting arctic regions increasing sea levels.
  • Animals losing their natural habitat.
  • Wild fires in dry region are becoming more frequent.
  • Greenhouse gas emission is rising contributing to climate change

Nature

  • Climate change is putting many species on the edge of extinction.
  • Polar bears are rapidly decreasing in number with increasing rate of ice melt.
  • Atlantic salmons are on the verge of danger as their natural habitat is warming up.
  • Coral reefs are dying putting marine eco system into grave danger.

Read about: Are we too late to stop climate change?

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